Repository logo

The political economy of English textile manufacturers in an era of national and global change, 1688-1722;



Change log


Bromley, Hugo 


This is a history of the people involved in the production and distribution of British wool and silk cloth, what they thought a good economy was, how that intersected with their understanding of what their country was, and how they interacted with and reshaped the global economy through those combined understandings. Each one of these aspects is inseparable from both the others and its own context: respectively methods of production, economic development, national structures and government, and global trade and consumption. After 1688, English political economy was shaped by the experiences of economic actors, who justified their positions primarily in terms of employment. The thesis explores how English textile manufacturers understood the global economy, and how their appeals to the state for support combined with the state’s increasing need for revenue to shape English and later British political economy. It does so over five chapters, considering first clothiers’ access the ‘open archive’ in London, and the role of textile manufacturers in the decline of English overseas trading companies. The second chapter assesses role of the textile industry, particularly in South West England, in shaping England’s economic border and customs policy, including towards Ireland. After discussing the state’s efforts to regulate relationships between workers and masters, the thesis discusses how clothiers attempted to shape the state’s pursuit of national markets to reflect the experience of overseas trade, before concluding with a global history of the Calico Acts. These studies reveal how England’s clothiers were able to engage with and change global systems through a political economy that prized economic experience over theoretical understanding. It is to explore how a clothier writing a pamphlet in the shadow of Gloucester cathedral, or a young weaver throwing a brick through an East India merchant’s window was taking part in a global process that transformed transnational exchanges to shape their own local economy. As the weaver settled down to her loom in the evening, she had just taken part in another creative process – the formation of Britain’s system of political economy.





Erickson, Amy
Thompson, Andrew


Economic history, Manufacturing, Political economy, British history


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge